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15 Dec 2016
Unique Holiday Gift Baskets

Every holiday season my sister makes gift baskets.  It is one of the sweetest things she, or anyone, can do.  Although to her it's no big deal, the thought that goes into the items she chooses and the way they are arranged makes for a beautiful and heartwarming gift. I know for a fact that the recipients, which include not only friends and family, but all those who have been generous and kind throughout the year (the garbage man, our auto repair man, the mailman) feel very special receiving these handmade gifts.  

Since my sister is the master maker, I thought I would let her take over the blog this week, and explain her process!

A few years ago I started what has now become a tradition; making food baskets for everyone on my holiday list.  For about $400.00 I can create a unique basket for every family member, neighbor, friend and service provider I want to thank. Costs in the Bay Area are likely higher than your locale. I think there is a good chance you can do this for less.

I start by buying a whole bunch of prepackaged assortments of savory and sweet goodies. Costco has loads of individually wrapped treats, especially during the month of December.  I then ransacked my sister’s warehouse for baskets, tissue paper, crinkle paper, colorful boxes, tape, ribbon and large cellophane bags.  If you don’t have a big sister with a 3,500 square foot warehouse full of crafting supplies you can find most of these items on amazon or at your local Target or dollar store.

I cater each basket to whom I am giving it with quantities based on family size.  After picking an appropriate basket I fill the bottom with crinkle or tissue paper.  I build the baskets from the middle out. This year one of the largest items was an Italian cake in a box so that often got center stage. As a little fun treat I also like to hide one goofy item in my baskets. This year that was a can of Spam. It is just a quirky thing I like to do. I perched the cake on top of the can of Spam. I then filled in around the cake, building height in the back and moving forward, layering and making sure everything but the Spam could be seen.

I then opened the giant cellophane bag, lowered the basket into it and tightly gathered the top. 

I tape any excess cellophane to the bottom or back depending on the basket's shape and top the whole thing off with a bow.

I was able to make 15 baskets for everyone on my list. Some of the baskets had specialty items in them like bottles of whiskey or wine and in one case a Lammily doll. Those things are included in my guesstimate of cost.  By sticking with basic foodstuffs you could certainly save some money. 

So, with just a few hours of shopping and an evening of basket making - ho,ho,ho here we go. Ready to spread the love this holiday season.